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Brassai: An Illustrated Biography

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Brassaé, born in Hungary as Gyula Halasz in 1894, began his artistic apprenticeship in Berlin before moving to Paris and launching a career that would establish him as a key figure in the evolution of photography. Brassaé's importance as a photo-grapher was recognized early in his career, affording him a privileged position from which to witness the varied aspects and milieus of Parisian life during the 1920s and 1930s. During and just after the war, Brassaé collaborated with other artists and writers, and ...

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Overview

Brassaé, born in Hungary as Gyula Halasz in 1894, began his artistic apprenticeship in Berlin before moving to Paris and launching a career that would establish him as a key figure in the evolution of photography. Brassaé's importance as a photo-grapher was recognized early in his career, affording him a privileged position from which to witness the varied aspects and milieus of Parisian life during the 1920s and 1930s. During and just after the war, Brassaé collaborated with other artists and writers, and displayed his own artistic proficiency in multiple domains including theater, cinema, sculpture, drawing, and writing. The late 1940s marked the beginning of a new period in Brassaé's life, during which he married and became a naturalized French citizen. In the 1950s and early 1960s, he traveled extensively and executed his original graffiti compositions that would acquire international fame. Toward the end of his life, the artist returned to reading and writing.Brassaé, who remained at the cutting edge of avant-garde, refused to espouse a single style; his rich body of work exceeds definition. This illustrated biography is based largely on unpublished documents and photographs from the artist's personal archives. The author shares stories told to her by Brassaé's wife Gilberte and by several of the artist's friends, including Henry Miller, Miré, Henri Michaux, and Raymond Queneau. Filtering a rich variety of sources, Brassaé offers a detailed and multifaceted view of the artist's life and of the bonds that link him and his legendary images to Paris.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Transylvanian-born French photographer Gyula Hal sz, or Brassa , led a charmed life as an artist and favorably positioned participant in the avant-garde of the 1920s through the 1970s in Paris. With just enough biography to unite the flow of illuminative black-and-white photography at the heart of this book, art historian Poirier was able to turn her scholarship in art history and her decades-long friendship with the Brassa family into a very rich yet personal view of the artist. In this book, Brassa seems to roam through Paris and through Europe with a cigarette, a camera, and the trust of artist friends and welcoming strangers. Well designed and rich in visual detail, this volume makes an excellent addition to understanding the life and work of a very talented and a very French artist. Recommended for all photography collections.-David Bryant, New Canaan Lib., CT Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9782080304971
  • Publisher: Rizzoli
  • Publication date: 5/2/2006
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 8.17 (w) x 11.93 (h) x 0.83 (d)

Meet the Author

Diane Elisabeth Poirier is an art historian specializing in the history of fashion and contemporary creation. A friend of the Brassaé family since her childhood, she has worked on this biography for four years.

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